How to Become a Nutritionist in Alaska

Dietetics and nutrition practice is recognized as the integration and application of scientific principles of food, nutrition, food management, and biochemistry as to develop human health and maintain said health in the state of Alaska. Other than those who are licensed, it is forbidden for anyone in Alaska to title themself as “nutritionist” or “licensed nutritionist”.

The Regulation of Dieticians and Nutritionists created legislation for Alaska’s nutritionists. Legislation for these nutritionists was also reviewed by the State legislature and later approved by the Governor. The nutritionist licensing program is overseen by Alaska’s Division of Corporation and Professional Licensing.

Individuals wanting to become a licensed nutritionist in Alaska will be required to follow the following three steps listed in detail in this article.

STEP 1 – Meeting the Nutritionist Licensure Requirements

In Alaska, there are two possible ways to qualify for a nutritionist license. The two possible methods are the following:

  • Earning a doctoral or master’s degree with a major in one of many categories. This degree may only be given to you by an accredited college or university. The following list shows the possible majors that can be used to qualify for licensing:
    • Public health nutrition
    • Human nutrition
    • Clinical nutrition
    • Nutrition education
    • Food and nutrition
    • Community Nutrition

Additionally, you will need a minimum of 900 documented work experience hours in either human nutrition or human nutrition research.

The other method you may follow to qualify for a nutritionist license in the state is the following:

  • Qualify as a Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS) with the Certification Board for Nutrition Specialists or as a diplomate of the American Board of Nutrition.

There are four specific requirements that must be met in order to earn the CNS credential. Those four requirements are the following:

  • Hold a Doctoral degree or a Master of Science in the field of nutrition. These certifications may only be granted from an accredited university or college. Alternatively, you may possess a Doctoral degree in a field of clinical healthcare, such as DC, DO, MD, DDS, Doctor of Nursing and many more from a regionally accredited institution.
  • On top of this, you must also complete several types of coursework including:
    • No less than 9 semester credit hours of nutrition courses. Possible acceptable nutrition courses include but are not limited to dietary supplements, therapeutic nutrition, nutrition assessment and pharmacology.
    • No less than 6 biochemistry semester credit hours.
    • No less than 3 anatomy/physiology or physiology semester credit hours.
    • No less than 12 semester credit hours in life or clinical sciences. For example, chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, botany, microbiology and many more.
  • Not only that, however, you must have a minimum of 1000 hours of nutrition practice experience (must be supervised). These 1000 hours must consist of at least:
    • 200 hours in nutrition assessment
    • 200 hours in counselling, nutrition intervention, management or education.
  • That’s not all! In order to qualify via the method, you must have passed the CBNS Certifying Examination.

The following requirements must be met in order to receive the American Clinical Board of Nutrition’s Diplomate credential:

  • Hold a professional degree from an accredited institution.
  • Beyond the professional degree, you must also have no less than 300 hours of nutrition education.
  • Have practice experience exceeding two years.
  • Write a paper or article that could be published on the following topic: nutrition.
  • Successfully pass the ABCN examination.

STEP 2 – Submitting an Application for Nutritionist Licensure

Once you have met the requirements specified above to become licensed as a nutritionist in the state of Alaska, you will need to fill in the Application for Nutritionist License, and of course, submit it. Alongside the application, you will also need to send an application fee of $50 (non-refundable). This fee should be paid to the State of Alaska. Furthermore, providing official verification of your ABN or CBNS certification is also mandatory. On top of this, you should also submit your verification and official transcripts of documented work experience to the following address:

Nutritionist Licensing

P.O. Box 110806

Juneau, Alaska 99811

Including a photograph of fewer than 6 months old (must be notarized) is also mandatory for all applicants.

STEP 3 – Maintaining an Updated Nutritionist License

In Alaska, all nutritionist licenses expire every off-numbered year on December 31. By completing the Biennial Nutritionist License Renewal form, you may apply for a renewal. Additionally, there is a slight renewal fee of 100$. This payment includes the application fee of 50$ as well as the nutritionist license renewal fee, also worth 50$.

Information on Health Coaching in Alaska

Lake Otis Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska presented a public service announcement titled “Classroom Feud”. This short 30-second video puts a twist on the popular TV game show “Family Feud”. The video encourages classmates to compete and replace sugary drinks with water, instead! This magnificent video won the Play Every Day Campaign video contest in 2015. The contest involved many other elementary schools in Alaska. Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services sponsored the Play Every Day Campaign, a campaign that offered prizes to the winning school that would create the most impressive video. However, the Play Every Day Campaign makes many contributions to the state of Alaska, and this event was only one of them.

The ongoing obesity problem in the state of Alaska has been acknowledged by the Play Every Day Campaign. The campaign has pointed out that two-thirds of adults, and only a bit less (⅓) of children are obese. While the campaign does focus on the illness and issues that come with obesity, but also on the financial strain placed on the state’s resources by obesity. The campaign declared that $459 million is spent on obesity-related medical issues every year. This large statistic demonstrates how large the effect of obesity really is.

With hopes of reducing this problem, Play Every Day encourages families and children to “Get out and play, every day” for no less than sixty minutes every day! The campaign offers creative and logical physical activity ideas that will not be affected by poor weather. On top of this, the campaign also makes frequent posts sharing details on events taking place all over Alaska such as summer runs and the Alaska Ninja Warrior.

When it comes to nutrition, Play Every Day focuses on showing the importance of water as opposed to less healthy drinking options. Other than that, a small program in the Hoonah community pushes families to include home-grown vegetables and more freshly caught salmon into their meals. Hoonah designs its remedies for obesity in accordance with the Community Preventive Services’ Community Guide and includes many physical activities for everyone as well as suggestions that can help develop eating habits that are more healthy.

Proper Education to Become a Health Coach

Many of the certification and academic programs surrounding this career option are still being developed as the Health Coaching field is still a new field. Due to the fact that there is no such thing as a health coaching degree, you are given a significant amount of liberty when it comes to choosing your internships, certification and of course, your degree. Below, you will find a list of suitable degrees and a standard certification for employment.

Degrees

Associate’s degrees in the following areas are suitable for certain entry-level health coaching positions:

  • Psychology
  • Applied Science in Health and Wellness
  • Applied Nutrition
  • Business Administration
  • Nutrition

The following areas offer bachelor’s degrees that meet the most common employer expectations. A bachelor’s degree in one of the following area is also, in most cases, the minimum education level required for the majority of health coach career opportunities:

  • Nutrition
  • Health and Wellness
  • Health Services Administration
  • Healthcare Management
  • Behavioral Health Science
  • Health Science
  • Healthy Lifestyle Management

The following areas offer master’s degrees that would exceed the average qualification minimum requirements of most employers:

  • Healthcare Administration
  • Health Systems Management
  • Nursing
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology

Professional Certifications

As a health coach, having a certification is a must. Having a certification contributes to your training and hands-on experience. Professional certifications serve as a field-specific credential denoting expertise and experience that supports the academic training needed to earn a degree. Despite different employers looking for different certifications, certification is often mandatory since such credentials show authority in the health coaching field.

The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) accredits the American Council on Exercise (ACE) certification. ACE offers two different self-study bundles that will help candidates prepare themself for the examination that must be passed to receive the Health Coach Certification. You may choose the “Standard” self-study bundle, or the “Premium”. Certifications accredited by ACE expire after two years, which is also the period of time before you must renew said certification. In order to renew the certification, you must complete continuing education which must then be verified by ACE. You can find in-depth information regarding the certification examination and more details in maintaining your certification by consulting the ACE Certification Candidate Handbook.

Job Opportunities for Health Coaches

At this time, there is no shortage of opportunities in the health coaching field as the state of Alaska prioritizes health improvement.

With that being said, now you know how to become a nutritionist in Alaska!

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